Apologies for the slight delay in writing about our time in Goa. In fact, I have to admit that I'm not even in Goa anymore, having arrived in Bombay very early this morning on an overnight train. After all the bad stories I heard from other travellers, I was expecting a city resembling hell as described in Dante's Inferno. So far I like Bombay though! However, I'll write later about our adventures and possible mishaps here. For now, I'll let my mind wonder back to the churches of Old Goa and the beaches at Palolem and Patnem....
Phil and I arrived in Panaji, Goa, on Wednesday after taking an overnight train from Kochi to Margao, followed by a ride in the slowest rickshaw in India from Margao to Panaji. After settling into our hotel, we decided to quickly get the sightseeing in Panaji over and done with. Even though I was pretty knackered after spending the night on a train, the prospect of leaving the cities behind sooner rather than later to make our way to Goa's beaches, provided me with a welcome energy boost.
Panaji, Goa's capital, proved to be worth a visit, even though it is
not one of the most spectacular cities we've visited in India. It is pleasant enough however, given its small size and the architectural heritage of the Portuguese colonisers (who only left in 1961). We strolled around the Sao Tome, Fontainhas, and Altinho districts, before walking down the promenade beside the Mandovi River. Fatigue quickly set in though, and after a relatively early dinner, we decided to catch up on some sleep.
On Thursday we paid a visit to Old Goa, a former Portuguese capital of the state, which at some point in its history housed more than 200,000 inhabitants. Nowadays though, almost nothing of the city remains apart from a dozen beautiful churches and cathedrals. The city is definitely worth a visit, and the parks surrounding the churches provide some nice scenery.
In the afternoon, we decided that we had pretended to be civilised tourists for long enough, and that it was time for us to become beach bums for the next couple of days. We took a rickshaw all the way from our hotel in Panaji to Palolem Beach, in Goa's south. Normally it would have been quite a long ride... I was stupid enough though to
have left some valuables in the safe of the hotel in Panaji, which I found out about only halfway through the journey. So I had to go back, and restart the journey. Four hours and 150km in a rickshaw after I had originally set off, I finally got to Palolem. Phil had decided to go ahead when I had to return to Panaji, so at least we had a place lined up for the night when I finally arrived. Palolem turned out to be pretty nice, but not quite as idyllic as I had hoped it would be. Even though we arrived in Goa right at the end of the season, with many places closing down for the monsoon already, there were still plenty of tourists and the many bars and restaurants lining the beach showed that it was normally busier still.
As the resort where we were staying was not quite what we were looking for either, we decided on Friday to go to Patnem Beach, slightly further south than Palolem. I was not disappointed this time! We found a comfortable place to stay, and the next 3 days consisted of: reading a book in a hammock, taking
strolls on the beach, having swims in the sea, and indulging in the great food which was on offer all around us (especially at Home, where we were staying!) Whereas Palolem is a nice place to visit if you want to enjoy the beach and some nightlife at the same time, the solitude of Patnem beach was more what I was looking for after spending several weeks on the road in India. I now finally understand how many travellers can come to Goa with the intention of staying for a couple of days, but not actually leaving until weeks later. Unfortunately, we didn't have time on our side, and 3 days after first arriving in Palolem we had to move on again. I hope to be back though at some point in my life!
Welcome to my blog. On this site you can read about my April-July 2006 round-the-world trip, and about several trips I took while I lived in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea between 2007 and 2010.
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